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S. Sudanese security arrest relatives of defected politicians

June 2, 2014 (JUBA) - South Sudanese security personnel have allegedly arrested unknown numbers of people believed to have relations with politicians who recently defected to the country’s opposition forces led by former vice-president, Riek Machar.

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Southern Sudanese police in a convoy on the streets of Juba (UN photo)

Among those arrested was Ibrahim Abdelbagi Ayii Akol, a younger brother of former lawmaker Ayii Ayii Akol, who announced last week that he officially joined the ongoing rebellion.

Family members and close relatives told Sudan Tribune Monday that unknown people stopped Ibrahim in Juba town at about 5:00 pm on Sunday and later drove him to an undisclosed location

“It is like there were people following him [Ibrahim]. He was stopped and driven away to unknown place yesterday. We don’t know where he had been taken. People in plain clothes just appeared before him after getting out of his car and whisked him away. He was coming from Malakal market and it’s like they were following him", said a relative.

The family member, who asked not to be identified, also claimed several other people suspected to have connections or political relations with defected politicians were allegedly picked from different places in Juba.

"Some were taken away from their houses in Thongpiny, Muniki and 107 areas".

Sudan Tribune was unable to independently verify reports on these scores of arrests, although security sources confirmed the arrest of Ibrahim and four others.

It remains unclear what caused their arrest, although observers attributed it to political perception with the government officials that does not differentiate between blood and political relationships, allegedly due to lack of education among government agents.

Akol has, however, criticised his young brother’s arrest, saying his political views were in no way linked to those of his family members. He also said he joined the rebellion because the current regime ignored the peoples’ will.

“This is the kind of the state our people do not want. A state that does not differentiate between me, Ayii Ayii Akol, as a politician, and Ibrahim as an ordinary citizen, although we could be related, it does not mean we share the same views and thinking. I am independent in my thinking as a politician. I do not share with him the same political views", the ex-lawmaker told Sudan Tribune Sunday.

"My views about the current system of government do not reflect the views of other people, including [those of] Ibrahim himself," he further added.


About 20 young men from 107 residential areas reportedly disappeared on Saturday. However, while their identities remained unknown, health authorities in Juba teaching hospital said they received an equal number unidentified bodies with missing heads.

South Sudan president, Salva Kiir’s government recently stepped up campaigns calling for the return of citizen internally displaced in United Nations camps to return home.

“There is no police investigation, no accountability for missing bodies. And if it take place, majority of the police personnel in Juba are predominantly relatives of those in the government and the results will never be known”, an observer said on Monday.